Grumble, mumble, pudding and pie,

My health professionals are making me cry!

Hello everyone,

I need to have a moan, get things off my chest, so even if nobody bothers to read it at least I will have written it down and feel like I've told someone :-)

Anyone who has known me for a while will know the trouble I have had with rheumy appointments being cancelled and the inability to see him privately as he is not on my employers health insurer's list of approved consultants. I live on an island and the logistics and expense of seeing another rheumy in England is prohibitive, but moot anyway, as the insurer's advised as I have started treatment (have I?) on the NHS they will not authorise me to see anyone in that field privately. Whatever, I'm tired of fighting that particular battle.

However, as I now have to see an Ophthalmologist and a Neurologist as well, I was delighted to find out that the two named consultants this time ARE approved by the insurer's. Time was of the essence as my employers are 'Medically Discharging' me on New Year's Eve, so any claims have to be started before then. I'm not being devious, this was advice given to me by the MD himself. But, as usual, I'm wandering off the point, sorry folks.

Ok back to the consultants and the joys of living on an island. It is a standing 'joke' for want of a better word, that going private over here is a bit of a waste of time because you get to see the same consultants and use the same facilities as we only have the one hospital here, but it does have a private wing.

Ok Ophthalmologist first, next available private appointment is actually after the NHS appointment I already have so, scrub that then, it is actually going to be quicker to see him on the NHS.

Right Neurologist next, this is a visiting consultant who only flies over once a month, NHS waiting list is a mile long, but I was able to get on the Private list for an appointment on Tuesday 10th December. I have to say though, that it is easier to contact the dead, than contact the Consultant's secretary. You have to ring a local mobile number, leave a message on voicemail and after about 3 days or so she gets back to you.

The letter arrived this week confirming my appointment but with the news I have to pay up front and then claim it back from my medical insurers. Slight panic as I am living on the bones of my bottom to put it politely, so I rang the insurers. They were a little puzzled and said they should be invoiced direct. Rang the secretary back, left a message and eventually after a couple of days, she got back to me. 'Yes that's fine' she said. 'Phew' thinks I, as I had to borrow a cheque from my lovely Mum. Ripped up the cheque and relaxed.

Then this morning I get a text on my phone, in text speak no less, saying "Dr. xxxx wud prefer it if you cud give her a cheque and claim it back urself" Am I being snobbish? I think is very unprofessional to text someone in that manner about something so important.

Also is it usual to pay up first and then claim it back? I thought the whole point of medical insurance was so you didn't have to try and find the fees yourself. Maybe I'm just being very naive (or stupid) but either way this is just adding to my stress levels!

Ok moan over, sorry for being a grump, and if you've got this far thanks for bearing with me

JoJo xx

17 Replies

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  • Yes I did get to the bottom and feel really upset for you. Each time I have claimed on medical grounds I have always had to pay up front and then claim back the money. Whether this is usual am not sure, I can only speak from my experience.

    I always think it stinks that you can see the medical staff quicker in your hospital if you go privately rather than NHS, if they are wanting private patients then see them elsewhere and in the evenings. No wonder there are so many waiting lists for NHS patients.

    Sorry I am joining you in a moan, I actually feel like a grump myself today, could be that I have over done things which has made me tired and achy. I think it best if I leave now before I open up and say too much. I hope you get some better responses. xx

  • when hubby was employed his insurance always you had to pay upfront and you would get the money back.xxx

  • Thanks Sylvi, seems it is not so unusual after all xx

  • Thank you Georje, hope you feel less achy soon xx

  • I don't know about the insurance but I think the text message is appalling and incredibly unprofessional. Why didn't they call you? I occasionally get texts about medical appointments (ie doctor's appointment reminders) but that is different and they are never in slang. Yesterday a consultant with over 10 years' experience at my Cardiology appointment looked up one of my other conditions on Wikipedia (!) in front of me and said 'Do you watch Coronation Street? Did you know one of the actresses has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome too?' - I could not believe it. It does not inspire confidence that he was googling information on the Internet. I was too stunned to challenge him about it. I'm also fed up as today I had to call the hospital and doctor regarding an ultrasound referral that was supposed to be sent on 18th November but never arrived (and I had to act as go-between and get them to send it again because noone was prepared to take responsibility on either side).

    Hope you get an answer to the insurance question. As I said before, you were definitely not being snobbish about the text, I think that was totally unprofessional to send it to you in text speak! x

  • Goodness they never fail to amaze and astound us do they? Googling your condition in front of you? Not very comforting and not very professional either! Xx

  • It also doesn't help that ANYONE can write the pages of Wikipedia, so for a doctor to use it to look something up is incredibly stupid and irresponsible! Next time you see them, I'd say "I hear patient.co.uk is a much more reliable source than Wikipedia".

  • That's what I thought too Debs, but talking to other people it would seem not. As you say, totally nuts, it's beyond me! Xx

  • Hello

    le

    We have a form of medical insurance where the patient pays out at the time then claims back fixed amounts for the treatment I have had, this includes dentistry, also if I am on an NHS list they allow payment on fixed sums,

    We pay monthly on this system, it is interchangeable.although the repayments are low,it helps a little for bus fares and other needs.

    The only time with we had to pay deposits when we had a severe car accident in Spain, there we never saw the interchange of money. So I suppose have muddied the waters a bit here I suppose all are different as are Specialists

    All the best

    BOB

  • Hi Bob, I've seen things like that advertised on TV. I have been thinking if it might be worth doing that. I suppose if you know you will pay upfront then at least you're prepared for it. Thanks for the info Bob xx

  • Hi JoJo,

    How frustrating it is.

    I had a long conversation with my rheumatologist recently about the need for joined-up services and a central co-ordinator.

    She couldn't agree more but said that what is needs is pressure from us to get it going so I'm now waiting for a call from her assistant to discuss what we can do as patients.

    It really does need looking at. So many of us have praise for our rheumatologist and yet have so much trouble trying to speak to them or accessing other services necessary for our holistic care.

    That text was ridiculously unprofessional - more the kind of thing you'd expect from your teenage child. Big Sigh on your behalf.

    Judy.

  • Ah Judy wouldn't the whole world run better with joined up thinking and services? It's good to hear you are trying to get something down though, well done you and please keep us posted.

    As for my text message, well I'm saving it for future reference! Xx

  • Hi..how dreadful..it's appalling as Scouser said the reason for insurance is surely so you don't have to pay up front and as for the text that is so unprofessional...what a terrible mess for you. I am finding NHS R/A clinic very slow but reasonably ok so it makes you wonder.i am sorry you are having this trouble and I personally believe that stress agitates the complaint. I wish you well and help soon. Maryx

  • Thanks Mary, yes I agree that stress definitely makes my symptoms worse and trying to sort out appointments and chasing up non returned phone calls just adds to it all.xx

  • Hi Jojo no your not being snobbish think that text was very unprofessional.Our NHS is in a bad way these days like you have spent time chasing after appointments or wanting to speak to rheumy. Try not to stress take it as it comes so to speak. Here's hoping you are sorted very soonxxx

  • Thank you Miss :-). I sometimes think I need a Personal Assistant to keep tabs on everything and organise it all for me! So stressful at times xx

  • Hello everyone and thank you so much for listening to my whinging and taking the time to reply. I've calmed down a bit now but I showed my Mum the text I received and she was absolutely horrified. As someone pointed out, it's more the style you expect from a teenager not a consultant's secretary!

    As for the insurance thing well it would seem a lot of you have to pay upfront then reclaim, so maybe it isn't that rare, but I do think it rather odd. I thought, like Scouser and others did, that you had insurance so you didn't have to pay the bills direct. I am fortunate in that my lovely Mum has written a cheque for me to cover the £250 initial consultation fee and I will of course pay her back when it is reimbursed to me But what if I need an MRI scan or something similar, I can imagine the upfront cost for that will be horrendous and certainly not something my Mum could afford. Oh well getting a bit ahead of myself there, will have to cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

    Thanks again gang, goodness we all have some tales to tell don't we, we should write a book together!

    Wishing you all a pain free weekend

    JoJo xx

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